Since August 2002, Uniting’s Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre (ASWC) in Brunswick, despite divisive social and political climates, has stood firm as a place of refuge, unity and humility.
While waiting for decisions on their applications to be recognised as refugees, many asylum seekers are isolated in the community with very little or no form of assistance and with few rights or entitlements. With the support and collaboration of congregations like: Coburg, Warrandyte, Camberwell, and Brunswick we have come together in Unity with the ASWC to help ensure asylum seekers feel safe, welcome and part of the community.
Uniting’s Asylum Seeker Program Team Leader, Aimee says the centre supports people at all stage of their settlement journey.
“The centre provides a dual service in responding to people’s basic needs and empowering people to learn how to navigate the Australian context,” she said.
“It is important to understand where people are at in their settlement journey.”
From English programs to digital literacy or piano lessons to employment workshops, the ASWC offers a myriad of programs to better prepare asylum seekers for life in Australia.
And beyond practical support, the centre also provides emotional support. The migrant experience is known to be a complex one.
“It might be sitting with someone while they cry for 10 minutes or smiling at someone and you’re the only person they have talked to that day. Being reminded of that role that we have in people’s lives and that the connection is meaningful for them,” Aimee said.
Aimee expressed her gratitude to congregations for their long-standing support of the program, “congregations have always been behind the work we do. Their commitment to advocating for justice and supporting those seeking asylum is truly inspiring.”